Planetlifter Air Transport
Production information
Manufacturer Imstar Aerospace
Equipment Rating
Use Military Transport
Tech Base Inner Sphere
Cost 343,833[1]
Introduced 2598[2][3]
Technical specifications
Mass 50 tons
Engine (Type) GM 200 Turbine
Fuel 320 - 2 tons
Communications System Irian UHF
Targeting Tracking System None
Heat Sinks None
Armament External hardpoints only
Armor Riese Reliable
Crew 1
BV (1.0) 189[4][5]
BV (2.0) 156[2]


A typical example of the conventional support aircraft available to planetary garrisons and militias across the Inner Sphere, the Free Worlds League-produced Planetlifter is able to quickly transport combat elements more cheaply than a DropShip flight. For this reason, Planetlifters are placed under the direct command of a planet's garrison commander, allowing for enhanced strategic mobility between battlefields.[6]

First produced in 2598 (though similar designs have in fact existed since the early 2300s[3]), the Planetlifter is a very rugged aircraft, though it is only protected by three tons of armor. Its VSTOL capability allows the craft to operate away from established airfields, usually one of the first targets in a planetary invasion. The aircraft can take off and land from any area with at least 400 feet of open space.[7]

Weapons and Equipment[edit]

Befitting its role as a support aircraft, the Planetlifter features no integral weaponry. Although it comes with external wing-mounted hardpoints, these are rarely used for carrying weaponry.[6]


The Planetlifter features a total cargo capacity of seventy tons. Its forward armored hold can carry up to twenty tons and is able to divide this bay with removable bulkheads to suit various cargoes. The remaining fifty tons can be carried in the unprotected rear bay.[7]

Where the Planetlifter differs from other similar aircraft of its size and role is its unique separating fuselage. While Combat Vehicles and Infantry can board via normal cargo ramps at the nose and tail, the Planetlifter can use its variable landing gear to lower itself onto the ground and then detach the lower half of its fuselage and cargo bay. After rolling away, the now exposed cargo bay floor is highly suitable for carrying either one large BattleMech, such as a Warhammer, or a pair of smaller 'Mechs, such as the Wasp and Stinger, who merely lie down on the floor. After the ground crews secure the 'Mech(s) and the Planetlifter returns and reconnects, the combined aircraft is ready for takeoff. An experienced crew can land, load the Planetlifter and take off in under fifteen minutes.[7][6]

This feature makes the Planetlifter highly attractive to buyers. A large number of airmobile militia and front-line 'Mech units in the Free Worlds League utilize the Planetlifter, with "Load Contests" held every few years to see which crew can load them the fastest.[6] A few units went further, the Silver Hawk Irregulars used custom built Planetlifters to transport and airdrop Stinger and Wasp BattleMechs.[8]


  • Tactical Support Aircraft
    This variant uses Vehicular Stealth Armor and an Angel ECM Suite to hide from enemy forces, while also mounting an Arrow IV launcher to provide fire support. For tactical coordination, the Planetlifter Tactical Support Aircraft carries a Look-Down Radar and a Cockpit Command Console. Unfortunately the designers had to remove the VSTOL equipment from the standard version to make room for all this equipment, and the armor is still limited by the conventional airframe. Simulations show that once enemy aerospace fighters know that the TSA is in the area, it is quickly destroyed. The Planetlifter Tactical Support Aircraft entered production in 3072 and the entire production runs have been purchased by the Marik Commonwealth. The TSAs are assigned in Squadron-size groups to aerospace fighter wings that specialize in ground support.[10] BV (2.0) = 475[11][12]
  • Support
    A downgrade of the Planetlifter Tactical Support Aircraft, the Planetlifter Support trades the stealth armor and advanced electronics for a larger Arrow IV magazine.[10]

Design Quirks[edit]

The Planetlifter Support Aircraft variant is subject to the following Design Quirks:[10]



  1. Record Sheets: 3039
  2. 2.0 2.1 Master Unit List entry
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Master Unit List originally stated the design was introduced in 2320, but this was since changed to 2598. Technical Readout: 3039 mentions "DMI's ancient deathtrap design from the late 2300s" which "holds many similarities to Imstar's Planetlifter".
  4. Record Sheets: 3039
  5. AeroTech 2 Record Sheets, p. 13
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Technical Readout: 3039, pp. 186-187
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Technical Readout: 3026, p. 58
  8. Field Manual: Free Worlds League, p. 89
  9. Record Sheets: 3039
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Technical Readout: Prototypes, p. 160
  11. Experimental Technical Readout: Corporations, p. 16
  12. Record Sheets: Prototypes, p. 80